Preliminary data shows that the country’s gross international reserves (GIR) rose to US$85.02 billion as of end-May 2019 from US$83.88 billion as of end-April 2019. This was announced by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin E. Diokno today.1 At this level, GIR serves as an ample external liquidity buffer and is equivalent to 7.5 months’ worth of imports of goods and payments of services and primary income. It is also equivalent to 5.1 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 3.6 times based on residual maturity.2
The month-on-month increase in the GIR level was due mainly to inflows arising from the National Government’s (NG) net foreign currency deposits, BSP’s foreign exchange operations and income from its investments abroad, and revaluation gains from the BSP’s gold holdings, resulting from the increase in the price of gold in the international market. However, the increase in reserves was tempered partially by payments made by the NG for servicing its foreign exchange obligations.
Net international reserves (NIR), which refers to the difference between the BSP’s GIR and total short-term liabilities, likewise increased by US$1.14 billion to US$85 billion as of end-May 2019 from the end-April 2019 level of US$83.86 billion.
1 The final data on GIR are released to the public every 19th day of the month in the Statistics section of the BSP’s website under the Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS). If the 19th day of the month falls on a weekend or is a non-working holiday, the release date shall be the working day nearest to the 19th.
2 Short-term debt based on residual maturity refers to outstanding external debt with original maturity of one year or less, plus principal payments on medium- and long-term loans of the public and private sectors falling due within the next 12 months.